Picture: Paul holding a baby cashmere goat in Inner Mongolia
I couldnt believe it, when i stumbled upon this article from Times of India:
Scientists to clone Pashmina goat
According to the article a gang of Indian scientists, that were the first to clone the buffalo, are set to start work on cloning the Capra Hircus goat. The article also says the six-member-team of scientists will use somatic cells from the ear of a donor goat to create the clone and use a hand-guided Cloning Technique to create the clone this month. The cashmere fibre is very expensive and India is not producing enough. (less than 0.5% of the total world production of approximately 10,000 tonnes per annum). The journalist writes "Even worse, while the world Pashmina production has almost doubled from 5,000 tonnes in the early nineties, the Indian Pashmina industry has remained static with the Changthang plateau of Ladakh contributing almost 90% of the total production."
I personally think it hasnt only got to do with the lack of the goat in India..rather has it more to do with the way the business is done and the extensive cheating, for instance 100% pashmina really being 100% viscos, and kashmiri wool which is really sheepswool from sheep in the region Kashmir. And if you have been to India as a western tourist, and gone into a tourist shop to buy some pashminas, you will surely know what I mean.
I believe that if there had been an government organisation to control this cheating and the quality more people would feel confident with doing business with indian cashmere companies, and not chinese ones. The majority of pure cashmere today actually comes from Inner Mongolia in China, even our own raw cashmere yarn. A controlled production would generate more business for India, and therefore more goat farms in my view.
I feel very strongly against cloning, but on the other hand it could possibly bring some good news too.
One thing that might be good about cloning might be that some diseases could probably be cured, which today is a problem in India. A more natural solution, in my own belief, would be to actually do something about the general garbage & sewage problem in India. It is not so strange the animal gets sick if it eats plastic bags with rotten vegetables off the streets!
Dr Singla says to Times of India that "Successfully cloning the animal will help multiply the number of Pashmina goats drastically, and that one goat would have given birth to a single offspring every year, but through cloning, they can get surrogate mothers to give birth to 40-50 offsprings annually."
Still not convinced.
Don´t forget to have a look at www.mypashmina.co.uk for your pashmina needs.